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How to make lipstick

Updated on September 24, 2012

You can refer this page to know the following facts:

  1. What is lipstick
  2. Characteristics of a good lipstick
  3. Ingredients used for making lipstick
  4. Colors used in lipstick
  5. A commercially viable lipstick formula and
  6. How to make lipstick.


What is Lipstick

Lipstick, this lip cosmetic that you get moulded into stick is made of colouring agent, suitable blends of oils, fats and waxes as key ingredients. It is used to impart an attractive colour and appearance to lip. Since lips are considered to be more adult when they possess a slight moist appearance, this is achieved by the use of a greasy base which also has an emollient action.

Characteristics of a good lipstick

  • Attractive appearance, that is, a smooth surface of uniform colour free from defects like pinhole or grittiness due to colour or crystal growth.
  • Innocuous both demographically and if ingested
  • Easy to apply, giving a firm coat which is neither excessively greasy nor too dry, reasonably permanent, but capable of deliberate removal, but has a stable colour.

Colors used in lipsticks

Lipsticks impart colour to lips in two ways:

  • By staining the skin, generally by using a as lipstick ingredient a dye stuff solution capable of penetrating the outer surface of lips.
  • By covering the lips with a coloured layer which serves to hide any surface roughness and give a smooth appearance.

The second objective is achieved by using insoluble dye and pigments while choosing lipstick ingredients, use of such ingredient makes the film more or less opaque.

Example of staining dyes, Water soluble halogenated derivatives of flouroscein. Eosin also known as D and C Red no. 21, insoluble inorganic compounds which changes to intense red salt at Ph 7.4 D&C # 27 (tetrachloro tetrabromo flouroscein) provides brilliant bluish stain. D&C orange #5 yellow red. But eosin and some of its derivatives give rise to sensitization or photo sensitization or other allergic reaction.

Pigments used in lipsticks

Both inorganic or organic pigments and metallic lakes are used to give intensely and variation in colour of lipstick, example Titanium Dioxide(TiO2) at levels up to 4% is most effective white pigment for obtaining pink shades and give capacity to the film on lips. Additionally Calcium-Barium lakes, Al lakes are useful lipstick colorants.

Ingredients used for making Lipstick Base

Apart from colour, the quantity and quality of lipstick is determined by composition of fatty base. Few important characteristics of lipstick base are, it should hold the insoluble colours, evenly dispersed without setting. It must set quickly in the moulds with a good surface and should impart good release properties. Stick must remain rigid and stable during shelf life. Lipstick must soften sufficiently in contact with skin and should be sufficiently thixotropic to spread on the lips forming an adherent film, which will not smear.

The Lipstick base consists of

  1. Dyestuff solvents: form solvents for staining dyes example vegetable oils (greater solvent property for eosin but show degradation). Mineral oil (more stable but poor solvent properties). Caster oil (dissolves due to high content of ricinoleic acid). Cetyl alcohol, fatty alcohol, ester, polyethylene glycols (carbowax). Macroalkenolamides are also used to dissolve lipstick dyes in a lipstick formula.
  2. Carbowax: This ingredient is a hard vegetable wax used for raising the Melting point, imparting rigidity and hardness and providing contracting property in moulding process.
  3. Beeswax: Beeswax acts as stiffening agent for caster oil(if used), but gives dull effect if used in excess. Hence can hamper the aesthetics of the final product.
  4. Lanolin: Lanolin is a good eosin solvent, it also acts as binding agent for other lipstick ingredients, thus minimises sweating and cracking of the stick. Lanolin also acts as a good plasticizer.
  5. Perfume: Perfumes are used in lipsticks to mask the fatty odour of the base and make it more appealing to consumers, while making lipstick it should be noted that the perfume should be compatible stable and non-irritant to lips.

In manufacturing of lipstick often moulded stick should be stored for about a week before being filled into lipstick holder then they are subjected to flaming in which lipstick is passed rapidly through a gas flame to melt the surface layer, in order to remove any surface spots and to produce, smooth and glossy surface.

Lipstick formula with ingredients and quantity

Carnuba wax - 10.2 grams
Bees wax - 5.1 grams
Lanolin - 15.3 grams
Cetyl alcohol- 5 grams
Castor oil- 67 gms
Colone- 3% of base weight
Timica white- 9% of base weight
Flavour- In Sufficient Quantity

Steps to make lipstick

  • Step 1: Take Carnuba Wax, Bees Wax, lanolin, cetyl alcohol, castor oil weigh them according to the given lipstick formula, preferable in a utensil made up of borosilicate glass, like beaker. Now melt these ingredients using a water bath, i.e. in a big pan water is heated, then the beaker containing lipstick ingredients is kept in hot water. Caution: Do not attempt to heat waxes directly on flame, it will catch fire violently.
  • Step 2: Once the content of the beaker melt and reach to a temprature between 40 to50 degree celcius and become pourable add colour( as per your choice as mentioned in the pare about coulor), Use timica white to adjust the shade of lipstick. In the end add perfume.
  • Step 3: Now pour this liquid lipstick into it’s mould(readymade available), lubricate the mold before pouring, so that it is easy to take out solidified lipsticks with minimal damage. Let the lipsticks remain in moulds for a week at around 15 to 20 degree Celsius.
  • Step 4: Take out the lipsticks place it in the lipstick container( available ready-made). Rapidly pass the visible portion of the lipsticks over naked flames to remove any inconsistencies and give a glossy appearance to the formed lipstick.
  • Step 5: Feel happy that you have learned to make lipsticks.

Popular Marketed Brands of Lipsticks

Some popular brands available in the market are:

Lakme, L'Oreal, Elle18, Revlon, MakeUp Forever, MAC, Lancome, Nars, Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder, Maybelline, Gueriain, Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent.


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